This arti­cle is by Cameron Green, of Green Acad­e­my of Per­son­al Pro­tec­tion (GAPP).

The key to every­day car­ry (or EDC) is not bur­den­ing your­self with too much non­sense but still hav­ing the nec­es­sary tools to take care of your­self whether they be weapons, sur­vival equip­ment, or lux­u­ries.  Putting it blunt­ly, if you car­ry too much crap you will be less like­ly to car­ry any­thing.… and look­ing like bat­man only looks cool on Hal­loween.  In the pic­ture you see a good sam­pling of what comes out of my pock­ets and off my belt. Since I’m a per­son­al pro­tec­tion instruc­tor, most of what I’m going to con­cen­trate on is weapons based EDC,  but I will also dis­cuss some every­day items that fall into the sur­vival equip­ment cat­e­go­ry or just com­mon sense items every­one should have.  Let’s take a look at the pic­ture, ana­lyze what I car­ry every­day, and you may get some ideas on things you want to include in your EDC kit.



Belt: Most peo­ple would­n’t con­sid­er a belt a sig­nif­i­cant part of an EDC kit… but in my expe­ri­ence hav­ing a good belt makes car­ry­ing gear that much eas­i­er.  Blunt­ly, if you have a 1 inch imi­ta­tion leather dress belt from JCPen­ney, you’re going be a lot less com­fort­able than if you have even a basic gun belt (whether you car­ry a gun or not). A qual­i­ty gun belt should be at least an inch and one half thick, heavy duty enough to sus­pend your body weight, and be appro­pri­ate for the type of cloth­ing you are wear­ing. Most days I wear a heavy duty nylon webbed belt, but when wear­ing a suit or dress pants I wear a leather belt with a kydex lin­er.  Both will hold my gear in place in addi­tion to hold­ing my pants up.

Gun and spare ammo: I car­ry a gun any­place I legal­ly can. Car­ry­ing a gun is not for every­one and I won’t debate the pros and cons in this arti­cle. I will sim­ply say, if you decide to car­ry a gun fol­low a few sim­ple rules. 1) find a gun you’re com­fort­able shooting/carrying and prac­tice as much as pos­si­ble (not every six months as most shoot­ers do). 2) find a com­fort­able hol­ster that allows for fast access, good reten­tion, and is con­ceal­able with your nor­mal cloth­ing (I am not a fan of open car­ry). 3) always car­ry a spare magazine/ammunition. 4) don’t make it a dai­ly deci­sion whether you will car­ry your gun or not…always car­ry your gun or the one time need it will be the one time you talk your­self out of it… and you will nev­er for­give your­self.  My gun of choice is a Glock mod­el 26 in either a Blade­tec hol­ster (pic­tured) or Cross­breed hol­ster.

Knife/multitool: most days I car­ry a mul­ti­tool. I have a few but gen­er­al­ly I stick with a qual­i­ty man­u­fac­tur­er like Leather­man or Ger­ber and make sure the mul­ti­tool has sev­er­al key fea­tures. Pli­ers, knife, Flat­head and Philips screw­driv­er, and a can open­er. Oth­er fea­tures such as a wood saw, mag­ni­fy­ing glass, or fish scaler are nice to have but rarely use­ful.   When I am in a firearm restric­tive state such as New York, I car­ry a knife so I have at least some read­i­ly avail­able method of self-defense. I could car­ry both but there is only so much pock­et space and weight I can sus­pend from my belt before it becomes too much. The type of knife I car­ry is legal in most places regard­less of weapons laws. A pock­et knife with a win­dow break­er and seat­belt cut­ter is con­sid­ered a res­cue tool and can eas­i­ly be explained if ques­tion by a law enforce­ment offi­cer. How­ev­er, I real­ize if I use as the knife as a means of self-defense in an alter­ca­tion the res­cue tool will be con­sid­ered a weapon. Whether it is bet­ter to be car­ried by six were judged by 12 I leave up to you.  I cur­rent­ly car­ry a Smith & Wes­son four-inch blade with both a seat­belt cut­ter and win­dow break­er in the han­dle.

Flash­light: a light source can be invalu­able when in a dark alley, in a mall dur­ing a black­out, or sim­ply look­ing for keys that have been dropped under a car. A qual­i­ty flash­light can be used as a means of self-defense as well. Look for manufacture/model that has a few key fea­tures. 1. Alu­minum hous­ing: if used prop­er­ly a flash­light can be a qual­i­ty impact weapon.  2. LED light source: will be much more durable and brighter than incan­des­cent bulbs. 3. Strobe fea­ture: if you don’t believe a strobe is use­ful try look­ing at once more than a few sec­onds, noth­ing about your attack­er and what it will do to his vision. Switch loca­tion, bat­tery type, length, weight, etc. are a mat­ter of pref­er­ence.  I pre­fer a tale and switch and a AA bat­tery with a belt clip. These fea­tures allow for fast access, inex­pen­sive bat­ter­ies, and a less bulky pro­file.  I have also noticed flash­lights last me about a year, whether they are $50 or $150.

Wallet/Money: a no-brain­er, right? But think about what should be in your wal­let.… Obvi­ous­ly your dri­vers license, cred­it cards, CCW per­mit, etc. but how much cash is appro­pri­ate? I don’t leave home with­out at least $100 and a good sup­ply of change in my pock­et. In the event of a pow­er out­age, if you have cash for a taxi or a hotel room or for a meal at a fast food restau­rant you are bet­ter off than the mass­es that rely on plas­tic. I also have a phone card with 500 min. if the cel­lu­lar net­work is down such as on 9/11 and I can find a pay-phone I can make my nec­es­sary phone calls.  Also, a list of impor­tant phone num­bers. If you lose your cell phone or it is unread­able, hav­ing a list of phone num­bers that you nor­mal­ly just speed dial could be invalu­able.

Tac­ti­cal Pen and a pad: a reg­u­lar ball point pen will suf­fice for every­day use. How­ev­er, any­one who has held a tac­ti­cal pen before can attest they can be pret­ty use­ful as a self-defense tool. Depend­ing on the design, they can also be car­ried every­where… Cour­t­hous­es, busi­ness meet­ings, air­planes, and oth­er places firearms and oth­er self-defense tools are not allowed. As a pub­lic school teacher, I can­not car­ry any weapons while I’m at work, how­ev­er, I have a red ink tac­ti­cal pen that is always in my back pock­et. In addi­tion to a writ­ing imple­ment, it’s a good idea to have some­thing to write on. A small pad fits eas­i­ly in a back or car­go pock­et and can be used to write down phone num­bers, license plates, address­es, or any­thing else you may need to remem­ber.

Cell phone: anoth­er no-brain­er right? But think about some of the apps that can be down­loaded on today’s smart­phones. On my phone I have flash­light, sun­rise and sun­set, camp­ground, nutri­tion, run train­ing, and game apps just to name a few. The tech­nol­o­gy we now hold at our fin­ger­tips can improve our safe­ty, com­fort, and even our health. What­ev­er we use our phones for I think we can agree, we all have one and giv­en that most of our lives rotate around them, we would be lost with­out it. So now think about your phone in terms of per­son­al protection…not phys­i­cal, but your pro­fes­sion­al and per­son­al life. If your phone is lost or stolen, who­ev­er ends up with your phone has access to your e‑mail, con­tact num­bers, Face­book account, and all of your words with friends games. At the very min­i­mum your cell phone should be locked when­ev­er it is not your hand and not in use. Back­ing up your cell phone on your iPad, using an online ser­vice, or even just writ­ing down impor­tant infor­ma­tion can min­i­mize the effects of a lost cell phone.

Keys: my keys are some­what unique. My key­chain is a full-size cara­bi­neer, which allows me to clip my keys to a belt loop…, but can also fit per­fect­ly over all four fin­gers of my clenched fist to be uti­lized as brass knuck­les.  I have stan­dard keys to my house, my vehi­cle, work, etc. but as “dec­o­ra­tion ” I have a para­cord lan­yard with a com­pass. The uses of para­cord are well doc­u­ment­ed and I will go into detail here nor should I have to jus­ti­fy a small com­pass that could be invalu­able giv­en the right cir­cum­stances.  I will say I chose orange for my lan­yard because it makes my keys more vis­i­ble… Because I have a bad habit of putting them down and for­get­ting where they are

Watch: anoth­er no-brain­er right? But as with every­thing else I’ve men­tioned, there are spe­cif­ic attrib­ut­es I look for. Water­proof is a must giv­en the nature of what I do for fun. I pre­fer a non-dig­i­tal face since the hands can be used as a com­pass on a sun­ny day.  Indiglo light is a great fea­ture as well and I have used it more than once to find a door­knob in an unlit entry­way. Oth­er fea­tures such as a stop­watch and alarm clock can also be use­ful… but I rely on my cell phone for those. In addi­tion to the stan­dard fea­tures, I replaced the stan­dard plas­tic band with a band con­struct­ed of 20 feet of 550 cord.

An item not in the pic­ture that I would like to dis­cuss are sun­glass­es. Sun­glass­es are anoth­er item most peo­ple would not con­sid­er impor­tant for EDC kit, how­ev­er hav­ing the right sun­glass­es is cru­cial in some cir­cum­stances. Most of my sun­glass­es are impact resis­tant because I shoot so much how­ev­er there are oth­er cir­cum­stances that come to mind that would call for a dif­fer­ent pair of sun­glass­es and you should be aware of them if you plan to trav­el out­side your nor­mal area of oper­a­tion. Snow blind­ness is a more com­mon prob­lem than peo­ple think it is, it is eas­i­ly avoid­able with the right eye­wear. The dark lens wrap­around style set of sun­glass­es or the old glac­i­er glass­es that were pop­u­lar back in the 80s are a good choice (well maybe not the glac­i­er glass­es unless you are also wear­ing a mem­bers only jack­et). Desert envi­ron­ments are sus­cep­ti­ble to sand­storms and even your wrap­around, Ter­mi­na­tor style sun­glass­es are of lit­tle use. Hav­ing been through a sand­storm before I real­ize the impor­tance of some form of wrap­around gog­gle or sun­glass­es that fit snug­ly to the face (and don’t for­get a ban­dan­na to cov­er your nose and mouth).

So there you have it, a pret­ty good sam­pling of what I car­ry and why. Hope­ful­ly this analy­sis of what comes out of my pock­ets on a dai­ly basis will give you some ideas about things you may want to car­ry. I’m sure some of you have more exten­sive EDC kits and feel free to post up in the com­ment sec­tion what you car­ry, but keep in mind what works for you and what works for me may not work for anoth­er read­er… one kit does not fit all and you should cus­tomize yours to fit your needs and your lifestyle.


Cameron Green (owner/operator of GAPP) has an exten­sive back­ground in shoot­ing and per­son­al pro­tec­tion; he is well versed in mul­ti­ple firearms and weapons plat­forms.   He  reg­u­lar­ly shoots com­pet­i­tive­ly in IDPA, USPSA, and mul­ti-gun match­es.  He has been an NRA cer­ti­fied instruc­tor for sev­er­al years and has taught over 400 stu­dents in every­thing from basic cours­es to advanced per­son­al pro­tec­tion.  In addi­tion he has been involved in mar­tial arts for over 10 years.
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